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Silent Hill (2006)
The best game to movie adaptation and a top horror movie
Silent Hill is a fantastic movie and is unarguably the best game to movie conversion there is - I can't imagine a single fan of the game being disappointed and more importantly fans of the horror genre can finally see a movie that takes them to a nightmarish world that refuses to hold back. While the story is close to the one in the game, there are substantial differences as well - so with this the game and hopefully subsequent movies all have 'different' adaptations of story lines.
The only fault one could say the movie has is that one 'may' find the plot difficult to understand towards the climax but its important to note that a trademark of Silent Hill was always analysis and openness - nowadays movies are too happy to spell everything out for the audiences while in this series, one can finish seeing the movie and actually have to 'think' to decide what is occurring. However its much more easy to understand that the extremely complex plot of the original game yet still being faithful and so for fans - this is a must, and for non fans hopefully this will being you to a place we have enjoyed for so long and hope you will start enjoying :)
One of the funniest comedies I've seen in a long time..
I don't know what to say - this is simply a brilliant comedy - two guys, one Asian, another Indian - best friends decide they want to eat some white castle burgers and head out and end up in a crazy adventure on the way. It is that simple but best part is - the two characters are so instantly likable... every single scene is superbly funny and in the end you are just placed in a good mood... the sort of comedy you can see many many times. I hear there are at least two other movies coming out... life is good.
I expected just another rude teen movie - but its a wacky story of two guys in early to mid 20s that is more than a few cuts above the rest.. recommended with three thumbs up!
Janghwa, Hongryeon (2003)
Best horror I have ever seen from someone that loves the genre
Let me just say - I love the horror genre to the extent that I see every single one that I can get my hands on regardless (except really low quality b-movie horrors which I could do without) and recently have become a big fan of Eastern horrors. Little did I know that a Korean horror would be the one that tops my list beating off heavyweights such as the Japanese Ringu (or the American Ring), or even quality US movies such as the Sixth Sense and The Others, and the widely acclaimed Hong Kong horror 'The Eye'.
Previously 'The Ring' had stood as my favourite horror but it seems to me that I prefer the beauty of 'The Tale of Two Sisters' any day - the story is extraordinary and rather open to interpretation thus allowing repeat viewings although chances are you'll want to watch this again and again just because the movie is so masterfully shot... the story is likely one of the best in the genre to date. The acting is top notch too from the entire cast and the scares when they come have the potential to rattle you like anything within the Ring - I did find myself glued to the screen at those points unable to take my eyes off.
Still I am glad it didn't come back to haunt me later that Sadako/Samara did from the Ring - after all such feelings are unpleasant and The Tale of Two Sisters leaves you with an uneasy feeling, but one that hopefully won't leave you without sleep but leave you satisfied that you have seen something quite special. But do remember.. if you don't understand the plot after the first viewing, a repeat viewing is more than advised.. I personally didn't have time for this since it was late so I flicked through scenes on the DVD, some numerous times until I had a good synopsis in my head and after looking on the net, seemed Ihad pretty much nailed it on the widely agreed interpretation. And the satisfaction from solving a puzzle like that is wonderful.
All in all - a masterfully crafted horror that is unlikely to produce the same 'level' remake (its been purchased by Dreamworks) simply because of the Korean content and everyone is advised to catch this in the theaters or on DVDs while they can... its one of the best you will get. Unfortunately due to the type of movie this is, there is no way to even talk about the story without spoilers so its best to do what I did - watch it without knowing a single thing except its 'a tale of two sisters'! And be prepared for something that is unlikely to be matched for some time.
The Grudge (2004)
The best 'haunted house' movie in recent history...
I think 'The Grudge' proves a number of things - firstly many audiences these days will not be scared by anything (if the Grudge doesn't pull it off there is pretty much nothing else that can and you 'have' to reach back to films such as the original Psycho etc) - a mix of conditioning and a dumbing of the general imaginations of people due to a number of factors is the cause. So one really can't blame a movie that is firing from all cylinders if yours are not.
I 'love' haunted house movies and this is the ultimate one - I asked someone whether they would like to visit this one and their response after the movie was that they would not only not like to visit it but they wouldn't even want to look in its direction. 'That' is a house that has left a mark. From start to end we are left with a barrage of atmosphere which is tangible with a mix of jumps which really are a staple these days in these types of movies. The director remade this movie from its original for the Western public and he integrated the 'jumpiness' of those movies with the classic Japanese horrors of Ringu (which it relies *very* heavily upon, in fact to such a degree and copying certain elements that one needs to remember if you think of this movie as 'better' than Ringu/The Ring, which came first and thus deserves some of the originality praise).
I think the movie was brilliant and deserves a rating in the 8s here rather than the late 5s but as I said, it has more to do with the public than the film. The storyline was not weak in my opinion - but in a movie of this length, there is little to be said except the 'event' that led to the 'curse' which then led to multiple deaths. I don't recall many of the old horrors having stellar stories either - perhaps the only criticism is that none of the characters were fleshed out very much including Sarah Michelle Gellar's character.
I would say my heart is still with Sadako/Samara and the Ring but Ill definitely have to watch the original Ju-on just for comparison sake. I've long given up on relying on others to determine a decent movie and this one (from a true horror fan) is brilliant stuff and will be one of my favourites for quite some time. I also benefited from an audience that was sucked up by the movie in the cinema... the guy next to me jumped out of the seat only a few minutes in, people were screaming and the end was met with a hushed almost nervous silence.
The movie was a huge success 'despite' the unimaginative public and that shows just how impressive it is - I have heard people laughed at certain scenes that one would consider far from amusing.. examples of either humour to hide nervousness or conditioning to all types of horrendous acts. You decide.
One of the bravest observations on the truth of humanity
I started watching Dogsville and felt like turning it off.. after all, what kind of movie could occur with no scenery? No doors.. it seemed like some sort of play/movie hybrid but after a shortwhile all those things faded away until I realized how much I would have missed if I had turned it off - it is now one of my favourite movies of all time.
Why? It is so brave to criticse humanity like this and admit just how 'dark' a race we truly are - not matter how much each of us profess to being 'good', we all know that most of us are anything but. Through this movie you see a woman who learns the cold harsh truth in a place where she expected to find the goodness that her faith told her existed. And then on not finding it, discovered that even within her lay a wrath that echoed the darkness that she herself wished did not feature so dominant in our race. And the biggest test of this is to observe your own emotions throughout this movie until what you feel at the end as perfect evidence...
I honestly believe those people that don't believe what this movie is expressing needs to take a cold hard look around them. And if they still don't believe, they are just like the people in this movie - unwilling to see the truth and coming up with excuses and reasons when nothing justifies the horrible world we live in.
A true masterpiece - one of the few pure pieces of art in cinema with amazing acting from Nicole Kidman especially, and the lack of a set causes you to be immersed in the characters like no other movie. And its 'them' and human nature that is the focus. Will leave you thinking and astounded (unless you don't like to think and can't watch a movie that isn't afraid to do something unique, in which case there a countless movies for 'you').
The Village (2004)
A movie that should leave you thinking.. if you are capable of it
The problem with many of Night's films are that they require that little bit extra from the viewers - it did not start with Sixth Sense's landmark twist, but with Unbreakable's interesting theories which did not seem fantastical considering. But people these days don't want to 'give' in the cinema to get an additional experience.. it should all be easy viewing and all 'take'
Now in The Village, we are left with a film with constant building tension, numerous twists altering the truth of the movie, wonderful acting but most important of all, asking *you* whether the life you lead is really the 'essence' of how it should be, or whether it was the villagers there that had it just right. People consider the movie a fantasy - but then all of Night's movies have been just that.. movies are about escapism after all.
I wonder if this movie will only be appreciated in years to come on looking back rather than the current 'jump galore' slashfest horror generation that can't seem to grasp the simple beauty of The Village.
I loved it and I think it is Night's best film, surpassing the Sixth Sense in its whole - go in with a thoughtful mind and enjoy a wonderful ride.
Big Fish (2003)
A message from one artist to every other about immortality
I have to say this movie is easily the most inspiring I have seen as an 'artist' - a writer and story teller, and it seems as if the movie while being wonderful as a simple 'movie' also sends an important message from Tim Burton to others about just how one's work really immortalises oneself.
The simple premise is that one's creations be it a simple piece of fiction, a piece of art or a music will take a part of the creator, and everytime someone looks, hears or reads it, the creator lives again through the work. So years after he is gone, how he felt, his emotions his personality and his creations exist once more.
And even beyond that there is the simple fact that the 'father' in the movie is a teller of 'Tall Stories' about his supposed life but the question lies - which one of us ever tells the complete truth? Our memories are hardly photographic and there is little doubt that when we think back on the times, they are always a little bit more polished, often the better times are more 'rosier' - not done conciously but just how the faded memories are interpreted. So really, which is the truth.. the one you tell everyone, or the one that really happened? Does it matter? The one you tell everyone is going to last much longer than the truth ever did as part of your memories and thus the listeners, and really which would you prefer? Life in its boring harsh reality, or a 'better' version with a rose tint and a bit of warm 'humanity' and 'fantasy'?
This movie is based around that whole premise, and is truly heart warming, tear jerking and very funny - a true fairy tale that only Tim Burton can create. And as always, there is much to think abd talk about once its over - at the start one tires of the old man's stories and how surely they must be fabricated, but I bet that everyone wishes that he would continue telling them at the end of the movie :)
I think this movie got a lukewarm welcome at the theatres because it is so 'unique' - there is nothing like this movie and people are not happy to embrace such things. But a guarantee is that when you finish watching it, at the very least you will have enjoyed the ride. At the most, you will take away something much more from you and maybe like me, some inspiration to be a story teller with the heart of the protagonist in the movie!
Superb acting by the cast of course - Ewan McGregor has somehow perfected a smile that could melt a damn snowman, his older version played by Albert Finney manages to make you listen to his every word no matter the fact you know that he could be making it all up, and of course Helena Bonham Carter and Steve Busemi play their roles to a tee. And how can anyone ever forget Danny DeVito?!
The cinematography is always a trademark of Tim Burtons - beautiful landscapes and visual feasts are in store. Nope, definitely one of my favourite films because it is such a personal one for me but even without that, it is worth every minute of your time.
When else will you ever see a movie with the disclaimer similar to 'Most of this probably didn't happen' by the narrator and you were still mesmerised? Only once and this it it! Enjoy and thanks Tim Burton and the cast and crew. *standing ovation*
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
Much better than Reloaded and some great moments
I think Revolutions does a lot for the series in terms of raising the series quality rather than lowering it further from Reloaded. The first was a landmark and a breathtaking movie, but the sequel was seen by most as far over the top in its action sequences. The third manages to land on the ground again with some absolutely spectacular moments and some interesting choices of characters and locales - the last in the series managing to be thought provoking. I also think that after Revolutions, people may like Reloaded a little more after seeing its importance and position in the middle of the trilogy.
Overall, a very good end to the trilogy and a great action flick. And you should go and see it, even if you hated Reloaded since the film makers do redeem themselves some what.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
A sublime scintillating experence like none other
Kill Bill - Episode One... here was a movie that I had been looking forward to for such a long time. And what hype... I personally am a huge Tarentino fan... I was convinced by Reservoir Dogs and I was completely sold and enamoured by the truly excellent Pulp Fiction (and then later liked Jackie Brown but not anywhere near the level of the others), and now here is the fourth of his films, or at least the first part of it.
After watching it, I sat there thinking.. this movie has not let me down one bit and I simply cannot believe how it delivered exactly what it said on the poster - 'a roaring rampage of revenge'. If anyone comes out of the cinema and claims that all it was was about 'killing', firstly, they would have missed all the undertones and issues that were present (and displayed in a number of superb ways including anime) and secondly, next time read the poster before you go in!
From the sweet singing sound of the samurai blade being pulled out of the sheath by the master that crafted it, to the superb perfectly choreographed fights to the sensational dialogue, I can say that the only thing wrong with Kill Bill is that I know for a fact that when Episode 2 finishes, I will be dying for more. I am glad that Tarentino is likely to do an anime prelude because in all honesty, I can't get enough of these characters and this 'fantasy' scenario.
But the main thing is - it is not just some movie with lots of deaths that is just a good laugh to watch. It manages to supercede even Pulp Fiction in the simple fact that what is created on screen just makes you bite your tongue and love every second that the film drips out. Well Pulp Fiction managed to do that too, but mix that with a great andrenalin rush and theres Kill Bill. With classic salutes to so many genres from Westerns to classic 70s Martial Arts to so many other things, I get the feeling that this film will be *especially* special for those that really love the kung fu martial art movies of old (and yes I did grow up on films like 'Snake in the Shadow of the Monkey'!).
And then theres the anime - beautifully drawn, and haunting in its execution of the emotional issues. The music is superb and is a part and parcel of the fights to create a sensational experience. Ahh this can go on and on.. in truth, this film is simply a masterpiece and one I will be seeing countless times again. What can I say, just like the razor sharp Hattori Hanzo blade, the movie manages to inspire me and drive me and I could sit there for houts watching it with its monumental soundtrack.
Bah this is too much.. go watch it for heavens sake and see what the fuss is about. Simply one of the best films by one of the top film makers ever. 10/10.
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001)
And people actually dislike this film? Thats the tragedy...
I actually ended up seeing A.I quite a bit later than its screen release, when it came on one of the cable movie channels, simply because of some of the scathing reviews. And also why I will never ever see another movie again depending on reviews - I will make the decision myself to see it excluding such things. The movie is a true masterpiece and the fact that I was blubbering like a child at the end, wondering why I was 'leaking' so severely was interesting in itself.
The whole issue has to do with the fact that people feel that it was a Kubrick film that was Spielbergised. You know what - people should see the movie and forget this issue - enjoy the fairy tale and see it for what it is. Forget the whole 'oh Kubrick would have ended it 20 mins before the end' because while I did imagine for a moment that the film was about to end at that scene, the movie moved forwards. And I actually loved what Spielberg did for it. I would not want the heart ache of the Kubrickised ending, I want the more peaceful ending of Spielbergs. And more importantly, people need to stop overanalysing the 'realism' a film that is simply a fairy tale told with various issues in mind - of life, of what really is important within it and how the little robot boy who was in reality more human that most 'humans' themselves! How a mother and childs bond is something that simply can never be described, something that Spielberg drives in and Kubrick may actually have missed, and the biggest question of what life really is, and whether it needs to only be flesh and blood?
So many questions, it is profound yet told beautifully and the acting is superb. It is a combination of work of two of our greatest directors and people should be happy with it is as it is. I suspect people that are so cybical of it are those that go in neither willing to think or feel, but simply to experience - the typical popcorn movie goer. Unfortunately A.I manages to be ironic one last time by unintentionally pointing out via the film that those people that really enjoy this movie are likely more human than the A.I like 'robots' that will overanalyse and criticise it without attempting to 'feel'. The simple truth whether you like it or not.
Finally, I am glad I have another movie that I can add to my 'personality test' list. The first was 'The Blair Witch Project' in which I reasoned that if you did not have a personal dislike of horror movies AnD you saw it in decent conditions, especially audiowise and still disliked it, you were lacking in the rather important requisite for intelligence, a decent imagination. In A.I, I simply feel that if you do not like it, you are simply less human than you should be :)
Go see it, and find out which you are ;)